Oysters and W-2s

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Necessary Treat

I spent much of the day filing quarterly taxes (of course I waited until the very last minute), sending out W-2s and getting myself organized on the financial front. It didn’t help that I remembered last year at this time Telfer and I were in Palm Springs, reading by the pool and brunching at Norma’s. The financial work took longer than I thought it would – ran out of stamps, forgot another form was due but I got it all done with a bit of time to spare. I had a glass of rosé and four oysters at my very favorite restaurant before I was due home to relieve the babysitter. It made all the difference.

Telfer is on call tonight. The girls and I are almost done reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Cate got braces on her bottom teeth today and everything hurts. A shower night. I love that I can send my girls up the stairs to take a shower and put on jammies before we read. It feels like an impossible milestone has been achieved. This week is so much more relaxed than last – the bookstore had four events in five days which is just too many. Still learning this same lesson over and over.

A highlight this week: went to two live shows. Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keene on Saturday night with Telfer and dear friends and then Roseanne Cash on Monday night by myself. Olympia is small but not small. I love when music and storytelling collide and this week has been particularly rich.

My reading week has been above normal. Sherry gave me a book in the New Year that I ended up listening to: Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship by Gregory Boyle. It’s just what I needed to read on so many levels. It’s such a tender book, especially in this current political climate. If I could embody any one spirit, this would be it. I almost started listening to it again immediately but decided to wait just a bit (to let it sink in). Cate asked me to read her copy of A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel that I gave her for Christmas. Of course I did so immediately: when your 3rd grader asks you to read anything, you comply. I also read Winter by Ali Smith. Autumn was my favorite book of 2017 but Winter feels a little cold (pun intended, thank you James Wood for the New Yorker).

18 in 2018

office books

Does anyone else listen to the Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft? At the beginning of 2018, they both came up with a list of 18 things they wanted to do or focus on in 2018. An inveterate list-maker, I decided to play along. Here are my 18 in 2018 (in no particular order). Will try not to editorialize overly much.

  1. Learn to make gnocchi with the girls (thank you Eleanor).
  2. Renew passports.
  3. Turn 40 (gracefully). It’s going to happen whether I put it on the list or not, might as well have some intent around it!
  4. Run/walk (planning to run) Hood to Coast Washington with my dear college friends again in June. Implies there’s some training going on beforehand.
  5. Read first thing and last thing every day (not on phone).
  6. Streamline event planning at the store (say no more often, space out events, be more proactive).
  7. Go on quarterly solo reading getaways (probably one night).
  8. Light the candles (especially during the dark seasons).
  9. Spending fast/year of no shopping inspired by Ann Patchett. Only buy what I need in 2018 – no shopping for clothes or beauty products for fun. I unsubscribed from every email and unfollowed all stores on social media. Books are not part of this!
  10. Spend one night away a month with our family of four.
  11. Work for at least an hour before I go down to the shop (okay, have to editorialize here – I have been doing this for a bit now and it’s amazing how one hour of focused work changes my day in immense ways).
  12. Plan for Olympia’s first literary festival (this is exciting and big and we’re planning for September 2019).
  13. Do 23 and Me (genetic testing service).
  14. Travel with Telfer for my 40th birthday – walking trip in England and a couple of days in Paris.
  15. Watch all the 2018 Best Picture Nominees.
  16. Finish organizing pantry and labeling spice jars as well as finish niggling/less fun leftover items from our remodel.
  17. Fix the stairs at the store (major construction project) and re-vision children’s section.
  18. Build a more cohesive and rich web presence for the store.

If anyone else has a 18 in 2018 list, I would love, love to see it!

The Ocean in January

 

One of our New Year’s decisions/resolutions/whatever: build one weekend night a month to get away with our girls. Both our jobs bleed into nights, weekends, holidays and there’s not much separation between the days. We don’t have very many evenings where it’s all four of us together at home. When we leave town, I feel like we can relax in a way that we can’t when we’re here.

Most of the time, I think we’ll go out to the Griffith Lake House for a night but last weekend, due to a weather moment (nearly 60 degrees! Windy but almost warm!), we opted to go to Astoria for a night. We were strategic and one night stretched into two days. We left Olympia on Saturday near noon, walking the beach at Fort Stevens by 2:00 PM, eating dinner (my favorite fish & chips ever) at Fort George Brewery by 5:00, and relaxing in our room at Hotel Elliott (tagline: wonderful beds!) by 7:00 PM. Maybe it’s my imagination, but the ocean in January seems wilder than it does in August. I could have stayed for hours.

The girls never seem to settle in a hotel room unless the TV is on so we did have a misalignment of goals in the morning. Parents: read books. Children: create mayhem. We recovered, brunched, walked the town and then went to an afternoon showing of The Greatest Showman. Drove home in the dark, listening to E.B. White read The Trumpet of the Swan. Observation: our girls are so different. Cate has always loved a book out loud – she still loves when I read to her. Jane has never enjoyed a read aloud- she makes it work by dressing a doll, arranging a space, always doing something. So car trips are pretty funny. It’s basically three against one every single time.

This week has been a good one. Telfer and I started the show Big Little Lies on HBO on Sunday night when we got home and got the girls in bed. I had seen it before but wanted him to watch it. We are so not usually binge watchers but we stayed up until almost 2:30 in the morning on Sunday (Monday) and then finished rest of the series on Monday night!

A good week and good reading. Finished two slim books:
Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor.
It’s often said that life is short. But life is also simultaneous, all of our experiences existing in time together, in the the flesh. For what are we, if not a body taking a mind for a walk, just to see what’s there? And, in the end, where do we get to, if not back to a beginning that we’ve never really left behind?

Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge.
I was consumed by all that I saw and I shut out the noise. You cannot wait for it to get quiet. Not in New York, nor anywhere else. You must create your own silence.

Re-reading The Round House by Louise Erdrich for the store book club on Thursday.

I miss this space.

Does anyone read blogs anymore? I do love instagram but I miss thinking about my life and writing a little more long-form. I am hoping to be here more in 2018.

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Telfer and I spent the first minutes of the year with our front door wide open. I can’t exactly remember where I read this, but it’s some sort of a real tradition – open the front door to the new year. I love this. Fresh air, new year, open.

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When you own a busy (yay finally!) retail business in December, no one quite gets how spent you are at the end of December. How behind you are on absolutely everything. I read a lot between Christmas and New Year’s and then got back to work. Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward is my first book finished in the New Year. It deserves all the things. I am completely in awe of the power of this novel. It’s about the search for home and family and it’s both universal and specific to the American South. It’s a must-read. I can’t wait till it’s out in paperback so I can convince the book club at the store to read it.

Other news. Cate is in 3rd grade and Jane is in 1st grade. They are a delight. They are growing and happy and creative. Telfer and I both love our work but 2017 has been a stretch year in so many ways. I will be 40 in 2018 and I have to say, I am not sorry about it.

Hoping to make this space more of a priority. I see more and think more when I write here.

Scenes From the Summer

in the airport - these girls are so funny
My baby an evening on the boat
in a serious potholder moment family on the 4th!
yes, amazing. early morning with jane
OH my word... Sweet Cate
sisters at cannon beach tomatoes from our garden
cannon beach sunset

Well, hello there. I wanted to share some photographs from the summer in an effort to liven things up here. We had a lovely summer. Two trips, one to California and one to the Oregon Coast, a lot of boating and crabbing, our garden (is still) productive and the girls are healthy and happy. Telfer and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. The shop was busy all summer and I would say we are more than 90% where I want it to be in terms of how it feels. It’s all very scientific.

That’s the macro version. The micro version: Cate was a potholder making machine. If you are related to us, you probably received a potholder. Jane was her helper and color coordinator and many evenings I had to shut it down. No more potholders!  But bedtime is fluid in the summer. We ate a whole lot of salad from our garden. Sometimes with fish, mostly with chickpeas. I don’t really cook in the summer. We went through a brief but intense fish taco moment. The girls watched every Star Wars movie approximately 14 times while Telfer and I watched absolutely no television. We were either working or sitting outside with a book in hand. It was a lovely summer.

More soon.